Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Recommend us on Google+ Watch us on YouTube Join us on LinkedIn NLC on Reddit
New Leaders Council

Founding Board

Dannette Lambert, Co-Director, New Leaders Council Oakland

Dannette Lambert is a political consultant and community organizer in Oakland, CA. She has worked on racial and social justice campaigns across the Bay Area, including leading two civic engagement campaigns for Oakland Rising and a city-wide campaign that changed the SF Department of Public Health’s Rules and Regulations on Bed Bugs. As the Community Services Coordinator for Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, she served the city that she loves by helping community members plan projects, navigate community services, and understand policy decisions. Through her work on political campaigns, she has helped to get progressive people of color into political office, including California State Assembly Member Tony Thurmond and Oakland City Council Member Abel Guillen.

Dannette brings a justice lens to all of her work. For six years she lived and worked in Hiroshima, Japan, where she was an active leader in the anti-nuclear movement and head of the Global Peacemakers Organization, a grassroots organization that teaches atomic bomb survivors how to tell their stories in English for an international audience. Her master's research focused on the Jharkhand Organization Against Radiation in Jadugoda, India and their fight to combat uranium mining in their village.

Dannette has also worked as a tenant advocate for the Tenderloin Housing Clinic where she coordinated the group Sisters Rize! Organize! a women’s group that empowered women in the homeless and SRO hotel community to build power and partnership for themselves to tackle issues of safety, self-care, and housing rights. She is the author of the popular article “20 Ways Not to be a Gentrifier in Oakland,” and she blogs about the intersection of politics, race, and community empowerment. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Howard University and M.A. in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley, with a specialty in Environmental Justice and Social Movement Theory.


Ecaterina Burton, Co-Director, New Leaders Council Oakland

Ecaterina Burton grew up in a multiracial military family, living in places as disparate as Alaska, southern Georgia, Northern Virginia, Hawaii and Japan. Before she knew the word intersectionality or how to dissect her own mixed race identity, she could see every time she moved how much a person’s quality of life and access to opportunity depended upon the neighborhood or family into which they were born. Her passion for organizing began when she was a social worker in Michigan and helped her first client successfully fight off an illegal eviction. Upon moving to California and serving in Americorps, she negotiated the removal of an unjust food stamps requirement that impacted 40,000 people, launching her into the world of grassroots advocacy. Over the past several years, she has been a part of multiple coalitions to advance policies that end poverty and hunger from the local to the federal level. Her proudest policy victory was the removal of California’s lifetime CalFresh and CalWORKS ban for people with former drug felony convictions in 2014. Currently, she is pursuing her MPP at UC Berkeley. A big believer in people power and movement building, if Ecaterina isn’t door-knocking or attending a hearing, she is either exploring the world and unreachable or kicking it on a porch with friends.


Trisha Chakrabarti, Recruitment Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Trisha Chakrabarti is a public health practitioner and food justice advocate in Oakland, CA. Trisha currently serves as the Program and Policy Manager at Mandela MarketPlace, a community organization working to improve health and economic outcomes through cooperative food enterprises in disinvested communities. She has experience in community food programming, public policy, and participatory action research. Trisha grew up in the South Asian diaspora and can often be found cooking dal, watching Satyajit Ray films, or reading Indian Marxists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Political Economy and Masters degrees in Food Policy and Public Health. Trisha is excited to contribute to the next generation of homegrown diverse leadership with NLC Oakland, and work together towards community ownership of the political system.




Suzanne Vyborney, Institute Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Suzanne Vyborney currently works as a philanthropy coordinator at the national land conservation non-profit The Trust for Public Land, which works to preserve natural lands and build city parks so that all may have access to nature and green spaces. Growing up in the conservative environment of the Central Valley as a transracial Korean adoptee where racism was as ubiquitous as pesticide drift, this was the perfect setting for Suzanne's future interest in environmental justice and racial justice.  

In addition to her role in NLC, Suzanne also writes grants related to prison reform, restorative justice as well as Korean adoptee mental health advocacy. Suzanne is forever grateful to have the Oakland community with whom to explore her intersectionality and to fight the good fight. When left to her own devices, you can find her ranting about the patriarchy, working on standup comedy and probably eating kimchi.


Nolizwe Nondabula, Finance Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Born in California and raised in South Africa, Nolizwe Nondabula is currently pursuing her M.A. in Urban Affairs at the University of San Francisco. Before moving back to the East Bay, Nolizwe spent her time in the East Coast advocating for Boston's queer and trans communities of color. She continues to do this work in Oakland through #BlackLivesMatter and as a BBP Fellow with the Brown Boi Project. Nolizwe is deeply committed to using the foundation of love in the gender, racial and social justice movement. When she's not in the classroom or speaking the words of Assata Shakur, you can find her on the dance floor jiving to the sounds deep Afro-house and Kwaito.


Melvin Cowan, Mentorship Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Melvin Cowan lives his life by the Sankofa concept, derived from the Akan language of West Africa, which means to reach back and bring forward what was lost or forgotten. He aims to provide individuals with the tools to navigate oppressive systems and instill in them a sense of duty, which will inspire them to reach back and bring up others 

Melvin has committed over 15 years as a community organizer and youth advocate. He has successfully developed young adults throughout the Nation by providing them with professional development, financial literacy, psycho-social development, leadership training, and educational access. He is involved with a number of community initiatives and organizations, including 17th District Assembly Member Robert Bonta’s Boys and Men of Color Commission, Nor Luyce Mentoring Center for Youth in Gyumri, Armenia, the Black Young Democrats of the East Bay, and Sister Cities Association. Melvin is also the founder of Stay Alive Oakland, a community inspired grassroots initiative to address police accountability and civic engagement to foster a safer Oakland for youth of color.

Melvin holds a B.A. in Speech Communication from Berea College and is a MPA candidate at the University of San Francisco. He currently serves as an Employment and Educational Specialist at First Place for Youth based in Oakland, California, where he provides transitional housing and supportive services to transitional age foster and homeless youth. He is also C.E.O. of Cowan Success Solutions where he provides organizational consultation and executive coaching.


Evelyn Torres, Recruitment Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Evelyn Torres is a political strategist in Oakland, CA. She was raised in the Bay Area and is a first generation immigrant from Lima, Peru. From a very young age, her family taught her to always lend a hand and to support people in her community. She is very passionate about empowering communities of color and making sure that they are represented. 

Evelyn’s background is in civic engagement with an emphasis in community representation. She is actively involved with a number of local groups, including the Latino Democratic Club of the East Bay and the Latino Network. Evelyn holds a B.A. from San Francisco State University in Political Science and Latino Studies and currently serves as the managing director at Artos Consulting.



Akiba Bradford, Selections Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Akiba Bradford is a Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice Researcher with areas of focus in youth criminalization, youth de-incarceration, LGBTQ system involved youth, children with incarcerated parents, children exposed to violence, evidence-based practice models, community diversion alternatives and AB109 re-entry barriers. 

She is currently one of the youngest commissioners on the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Commission, secretary of the Black Young Democrats, East Bay, a Chartering Board Member and selections co-chair of the New Leaders Council Oakland and treasurer of the San Francisco Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club. An Oakland native, Akiba holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology from Knox College Galesburg, IL.





Kyle Daley, Selections Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Kyle Daley leads product marketing at Chime, a mobile first banking startup in San Francisco. In addition to his role with NLC Oakland, Kyle also serves as Vice Chair of the Computer & Internet Caucus and is a political partner with the Truman National Security Project where he focuses on developing tech policy.    

Kyle studied Political Science at UCLA and his writings have been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union-Tribune and the San Jose Mercury.





Mercy Albaran, Communications Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Mercy Albaran, a born and raised Oaklander, is passionate about sharing the stories behind struggles for social and economic justice. With a strong communications background, she uses media, messaging and training to make change.  

The daughter of a caregiver, Mercy is especially inspired to fight for immigrant and workers rights. Over the past several years she’s worked with groups such as the California Domestic Workers Coalition, a statewide network of labor, women’s advocacy and social justice organizations fighting to bring dignity to workers left in the shadows. As the communications lead for the successful National Domestic Workers Association (NDWA) campaign, she focused on messaging, media relations and e-advocacy to build strong visibility for the nearly-invisible issues of domestic work.

Mercy is currently a communications jedi/senior account executive at Fenton Communications, a social change agency that works with nonprofits, foundations and socially-minded businesses to make the world a better place – faster. Mercy holds a degree in International Relations and Japanese from The University of California at Davis, and in her spare time she likes to learn languages, eat cake, sing and beatbox.


Zakiya Scott, Communications Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Zakiya Scott believes in the power of storytelling to change systems, and ultimately, the world. With roots in Charlotte, North Carolina, she came to the Bay Area to fuse her passion for media and communications with her desire to help realize a more socially just society, and amplify voices of communities who are too often left out of critical conversations.

Zakiya is a social change media strategist and began her career as a communications and media intern at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Zakiya has a background in broadcast and news reporting on education issues, and holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Journalism and Mass Communications and African-American Studies.

Zakiya currently serves as an Account Executive at Fenton and primarily works with non-profits and foundations within the social justice practice.  




Brittni Chicuata, Institute & Curriculum Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Bio coming soon. 

Sabrina Mutukisna, Institute & Curriculum Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Bio coming soon. 

Igor Tregub, Alumni Engagement Co-Chair, New Leaders Council Oakland

Bio coming soon.

Teddy Kỳ-Nam Miller, Advisory Board, New Leaders Council Oakland

Teddy Kỳ-Nam Miller is a Vietnamese American public interest attorney and public policy expert in Oakland, CA.Teddy is on the Transportation and Infrastructure Equity team at PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. Teddy has a top-secret clearance and has passed into the Foreign Service as a candidate to become a political officer.  He also spent years working on Capitol Hill, where he served his hometown district in the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, handling foreign affairs, transport and infrastructure, defense, intelligence, and judicial issues.  He graduated with honors from UC Berkeley, obtained his Masters degree from the London School of Economics, and earned his J.D. from UC Hastings, where heserved as student bodypresident. He and his wife Bonnie are both alumni of the NLC-DC chapter, where he served as chapter co-director in 2012, and are proud to be involved in standing up the new Oakland NLC chapter. He spends his free hours playing with his toddler and jogging while listening to NPR podcasts.


Atlanta - Augusta - Austin - Boston - Broward - Capital District NY - Chicago - Cincinnati - Cleveland - Connecticut - Dallas - Denver - Des Moines
Detroit - Houston - Kentucky - Los Angeles - Louisiana - Madison - Maine - Maryland - Miami - Montana - Nashville - New Hampshre - New Jersey - New York City
North Carolina - Oakland - Omaha - Orlando - Palm Beach - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Rhode Island - Sacramento - San Antonio - San Francisco - Silicon Valley